GIVEAWAY: JANUARY OWLCRATE

These past 48 hours have been very nerve wracking for many U.S. citizens. My anxiety has been through the roof, so when I received book mail Friday…it helped in distracting me for just a bit. I knew I wanted to host my 1st giveaway this year, I just didn’t think it would be this soon lol. The spirit of giving hit me though, and so I shall go with it. I hope this box finds its way to a wonderful bookworm who might also need a bit of a distraction. I meant to  post this box earlier in the day but btwn my 2 tiny humans & being absorbed watching the Women’s March I have truly lost track of time. Running this giveaway is giving me a little happy back & for that I am grateful. The rules for this giveaway will be listed at the bottom of this post. This giveaway will be open to my INTERNATIONAL bookworms as well, inspired by the outpouring support I’ve seen this morning from women all over the world. I have also been actively seeking out Diverse Books and this will play a part in this giveaway πŸ˜‰

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Click on photo if you’d like to follow my journey with books on IG ❀

goodreads-synopsis-2In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thornβ€”an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

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πŸ₯€Roseblood by A.G. Howard (hardcover)

πŸ₯€1 mint tea packet by @firsteditiontea πŸ₯€1 Secret Garden inspired book-shaped soap (smells SO good!)

πŸ₯€1 Slaughterhouse Five inspired watercolor #bookmark

πŸ₯€1 children’s classics inspired calendar by @obviousstate

πŸ₯€1 Phantom Of The Opera fridge magnet

πŸ₯€ 1 Owlcrate Theatre pin

πŸ₯€1 Wires and Nerve by Marisa Meyer mini poster

 

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πŸ₯€ This giveaway will be open to my INTERNATIONAL bookish peeps as well, you just have to have a valid mailing & email address that you are willing to share with me

πŸ₯€ Follow my blog of course  (i’ll be checking loves)

πŸ₯€ Must be 18 years or older

πŸ₯€ Comment on this post with your most anticipated book for 2017, if this book happens to be a Diverse Book, you will get 1 extra entry πŸ˜‰

πŸ₯€ This giveaway will run starting today 1/21/17 til next Sunday 1/28/2017

Good luck to all those who decide to throw their hat in the ring. I have my lucky mason jar ready and can’t wait to see all of your recommendations. My excited face is on at the moment hehe πŸ™‚

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

25489134The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Published by:Β Del Rey

Publication Date: January 10th 2017

Genre:Β Adult Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Pages: 336Β pages

Format: PhysicalΒ ARC (Bookcon)Β 

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

HUGE thanks to Del Rey & Katherine Arden for the ARC copy of The Bear and the Nightingale at Bookcon.

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At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mindβ€”she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealedβ€”this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

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The Bear and the Nightingale weaves the tale of Vasilisa, a child who grew up listening to the Russian Fairy Tales told by her nurse every night. Tales of the blue-eyed demon and the belief that honoring the house spirits would offer protection from the demon were taken seriously. Everyone in the village would leave out milk & bread to the house spirits in hopes to ward away the evil. The difference between everyone else & Vasilisa however, is that these tales were true and she is known as what is called a seer. Vasilisa’s mother who died in childbirth knew that she was leaving behind a very special girl. A girl that one day would be needed & as such she asked that her husband take much care of Vasilisa. When the tales/demons of Vasilisa’sΒ childhood begin to come to life and threaten her village, sheΒ is the only one who could fight the impending war. Many years later,Β Vasilisa’s father is advised to re-marry in order to provide his daughter with a woman to guide her in life. Her father who was still very much devoted to the memory of his late wife, decided to take this advice and travel to Moscow where he was to find a wife…and here is where all of Vasilisa’s troubles begin…In a village where she is viewed as a witch and the people are easily swayed to convert to christianity, Vasilisa herself must be weary of a witch hunt while trying to protect the entire village.

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Besides the lush world building (see writing & thoughts) in The Bear and the Nightingale, the characters quickly turned out to beΒ some of my favorites. Our female protagonist Vasilisa hasn’t had an easy life, losing her mom on the day she was born and her seer abilities have ensured a challenging road for her. I immediately loved Vasilisa, compared by many to a wood sprite, she loved running into the woods where she would lose track of time. Vasilisa was able to see the spirits in her home as well as in the woods and the water. She maintained a good relationship with them all, many times bringing them offerings to keep them peaceful and in high spirits. She refused to be treated like a maiden & opted instead to wear her brothers clothes. If given the opportunity, she would also carry daggers like her brothers. I loved her spirit and kindness, the warrior in her made me root for her and smile whenever she got her way. The sibling relationship between Vasilisa & her brothers and sisters was interesting & at times fun to read. Vasilisa was very fond of her siblings but i particularly enjoyed seeing her relationship with her brother Alyoshka. He absolutely knew that Vasilisa was not meant to be tied to a man bearing children. As much as he feared for her safety, he also respected her free spirit and was the only one to believe her no matter what. The witty banter between these two also got a few chuckles out of me. The relationship between Vasilisa & her father on the other hand is a bit more complex. He loves his daughter & doesn’t resent her for the death of her mother (the love of his life) but he also would like if she could conform to tradition & be wed. Of course, he knows each of his children and knows that Vasilisa settling down is a challenge he can’t see himself taking on by himself. This man is as old school Russian as they get, yet he himself realized that Vasilisa doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional wife. Some may sayΒ that he wasn’t a good dad because of certain scenes where he went old school on her with a “thrashing” whenever she would disappear for days into the woods. I saw the good & the bad in this man burdened by traditions and the fact that he is a Lord of the lands with a reputation to maintain. A widow with a house full of daughters & sons to raise and marry off to ensure their good futures. I didn’t enjoy certain scenes but I saw what the author was giving us… a complex man, flaws & all who loves all of his children and fears seeing any one of them alone. Dunya who is Vasilia’s nurse is hands down my new Grandma! not only can she spin a good tale by the oven in the middle of winter, but she loves all of the kids as hard as she loved their mother when she was her nurse. Last but not least we have the house spirits who all serve their own purpose. All of the different house & wood spirits take offerings whether it be food or blood.Β The Vazila, a Β little old man that lives in the horse stables in essence is the soul of all horses and was my favorite of all the spirits. Add talking horses to these amazing characters & it just doesn’t get better than this cast ❀

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The Bear & The Β Nightingale is the ultimate cozy read which I found ideal for this winter season. Every time I opened this book & entered the village and home of Vasilisa, I found it incredibly hard to leave. This book is atmospheric, lush in Russian folklore, culture, and language. The world building is insanely magical and transcending, from the scenes in the woods to the scenes in this families home. There’s plenty about this world to gush about but I really think that it would take away from your reading experience if I were to include it in this review. Some things are just better to discover on your own, I promise you will not be disappointed with all the interesting characters both alive & not so alive that you’ll encounter along the way πŸ˜‰

I’ve never been to Russia, but this author has lived & studied in MoscowΒ and it’s clear to me that she truly loves & appreciates its culture. The well fleshed out characters made me connect further with this story & that’s key for me whenever i’m reading no matter the genre. The cover for this book captures the heart of the story…Vasilia’s home which is what she chose to protect. The strong familial bondsΒ between Vasilisa and each of her family members was a major focal point & made this into a Fairy Tale of its own. Lastly, I appreciated that nothing was rushed especially not the ending. Instead we see the framework set down for the continuation of Vasilia’s adventure since this is book 1 in an Adult Fantasy trilogy. I am BEYOND excited & READY to go back into this world…kind of hoping that we see book 2 this Fall *fingers crossed*Β 

Have any of my bookish peeps read The Bear & The Nightingale? if so, who was your favorite character/house or wood spirit? Looking forward to the sequel? if you’ve reviewed TBATNG, drop that link down below and i’ll swing by ❀ ❀ ❀

Waiting On Wednesday

bad-romanceTitle: Bad Romance

Author: Heather Demetrios

Book: Hardcover, 368 pages

Expected Publication: June 13th 2017

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Genre: Contemporary/Young Adult

 

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Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York directorβ€”anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darknessβ€”and emerging into the light again.

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Bad Romance instantly caught my attention with its decaying flowers on the cover and it’s Gaga-esque title. My guess was right, this story is about abusive relationships. Although in the Goodreads synopsis we are made aware of the main protagonists abusive relationship with her love interest, it is the step-father/daughter relationship that made me add this one to my TBR. The description “wields fear like a weapon” sticks out the most. I’m hoping for some in depth character development/exploration, a realistic account of toxic relationships & its after effects and lastly i’m interested in the outcome. Of course i’m hoping for a positive outcome but i’m curious as to how it will be handled by the author.

What are you wonderful Bookish Peeps waiting on this Wednesday? Are any of you planning on reading Bad Romance?…gosh I can’t get Gaga’s song out of my head now

Waiting On Wednesday: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

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We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Published by: Penguin Random House/DuttonΒ Books For Young Readers

Date of Publication:Β February 14th 2017

Genres:Β YAΒ Fiction

Pages:Β 240

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the award-winning author of Hold Still comes an achingly beautiful novel about grief and the enduring power of friendship.
“You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.”

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch,Β We Are OkayΒ is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.

 

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

Reasons 4 Book LustingΒ We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (Goodreads Link here):

I recently read and loved Nina LaCour’s Everything Leads To You (review here) for her writing style & ability to bring to life the settings in her book. I’m big on character development and LaCour knows what she’s doing with the friendships/relationships she builds. We Are Okay takes place in New York City (my home city) where Marin now lives in her college dorm after leaving California in an attempt to flee her past. This being a story about grief and friendship, i’m hoping we get some amazing story telling and truly get a sense of the events that make Marin who she is now. I’m curious about her friend Mabel & how she is connected to Marin’s past. I get the feeling from the synopsis that Marin doesn’t have a family or has had a disconnect & i’m wondering whether we’ll get an amazing cast of supporting characters like we did in Everything Leads To You. I also love that this story is about female friendship because we don’t see that enough in YA. LaCour really knows how to portray the ups & downs of female friendships, hoping this will be a new favorite. Although she writes YA, in her last book I gotΒ the sense that the characters were much more mature for their age & had some life experience points under their belt. I’m hoping for a complex & deeply layered Marin, yea I like my characters rough around the edges lol smh. Β Also, LaCour gets serious brownie points for this cover! at first I thought that she had gone the Graphic Novel route but quickly realized (& jumped 4 joy a bit) that it was her next YA Fiction book. Love the pastels against the night sky, she appears to be standing on her dorm room bed whileΒ looking out into a field somewhere that’s not NYC while snow falls…innnnnnneresting!